Minister denies opposition crackdown reports

Government has dismissed reports that members of the security forces, who include soldiers and police, had gone on the rampage in Harare, beating up citizens and clamping down on opposition political activists.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo

Addressing diplomats and foreign observer missions in Harare yesterday, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said government investigations had proved that reports of the clampdown were false.

“Reports and allegations of abductions, rapes and beatings allegedly of people by members of the security services which are coming out in the media, we have heard that soldiers have beaten up people in Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana and Dzivarasekwa and we have investigated this and the head of Chitungwiza Central Hospital has informed us that there were never any people who were formally detained at the hospital,” Moyo said.

Some senior MDC Alliance members have gone into hiding alleging that members of their families have been abducted, beaten up and dumped in the dead of the night as soldiers allegedly cracked down on the opposition.

Moyo said there could be imposters going around and denting the image of the country, distancing the military and police from the reports.

“Government is not aware of any victims of the beatings or abductions. So far, there is a lot of disinformation coming from social media … the military in this country is generally a well-trained force, it is a well-disciplined force which has operated for a period of three months and at one stage it took over the responsibility of policing,” he said.

German ambassador to Zimbabwe Thorsten Hutter said his country was concerned over the events which unfolded last Wednesday when seven people were shot dead during a demonstration in the capital.

“The events of the recent days may be seen as a setback to that reform process and Germany encourages the government to see to it that this will not be so. That will include from our perspective and I am sure others will share this view to see to it that there will be calm in the country, that there will be political dialogue between the parties so that the country returns to normalcy as soon as possible,” he said.